Impact theory

Impact theory

Groundwork started at the ASCA's inception is starting to bear fruit through the new snow insurance program, says ASCA's Kevin Gilbride. Insurance premiums within this program are either coming down or are 30% better than on the open market.

July 21, 2016
Association News Director's Column

When we started on this journey that is the now the Accredited Snow Contractors Association, we conducted a fair amount of research, talked to a lot of people, and developed programs that addressed issues brought to our attention in that fateful meeting in a Cleveland hotel conference room.

The main issue -- skyrocketing insurance costs -- was wrapped around other issues that contributed to the problem.  Specifically, much of the outside world did not respect or understanding the snow and ice management industry.  This misunderstanding involved insurance carriers and agents, property owners and managers, and finally our legislative representatives.  All along, te ASCA plan focused on developing programs and initiatives that address these issues. And in theory, the result would be a decrease in insurance rates and an increase in the respect (and revenues and profits) of snow and ice management companies.

You see, it is the snow contractor’s responsibility to run an operation that protects themselves, their clients and the insurance carrier.  Like it or not, when a supplier is losing $2 for every $1 they bring in, it is not long before they are no longer in business to serve you.  This is what was happening in the insurance market.  They were…and some still are…losing $2 for every dollar that comes in in premium for snow and ice management services. 

Some continue to claim they are still serving snow contractors.  I was sent a notice from an insurance carrier that a snow contractor received.  It was the new rules for the carrier to insurance snow contractors.  They will still write a snow policy, as long as the snow contractor doesn’t service: 

  • Hospitals/medical complexes
  • Nursing homes, retirement communities
  • Public transportation hubs including airports
  • Retail box stores and malls
  • Condo/home owners’ associations
  • Apartments
  • Large strip malls
  • Bank
  • Hotels and Motels

So this insurance company will provide you insurance to plow snow if you don’t plow snow?

For some, this problem continues to worsen, however, it is rapidly improving for others. 

We have been operating on theory up until this season.  The theory was, if we could provide the insurance carriers proof the snow contractor would be defensible in a slip-and-fall claim, then we could help them better manage insurance profits and loses, and stop the bleeding. 

Today, we have the data to prove the theory is in fact correct.  This past season Mills Insurance was the first to recognize both the ASCA Certified Education and ISO9001/SN9001 certification in consideration in their insurance premium.  Those in the program did have claims against them, however the results of the program are light years better than the industry averages. 

Editor's Note: The chart reflects initial claims data. Claims data will continue to fluctuate as claims occur.

So the final part of the theory is now being realized and is fact.  Insurance premiums within this program are, in fact, either coming down or are 30% better than on the open market. 

ISO9001/SN9001 companies are seeing he biggest advantages.  One company in the program last year, saved $30,000 in premiums this year.  Another company, this one not in the program last year, was able to obtain a policy $40,000 less expensive than what was available on the open market.  I have heard this story a dozen time.  Folks are saving 25-35% due to these certifications.  (in addition to increasing sales and having improved processes and procedures. 

The program is administered by Mills Insurance and Snow Plow Risk.  You or your agent can work with them for your company’s insurance needs.  In the end, what was theory is now fact…and snow contractors playing along are thrilled.